Yesterday we played dungeon world. It was originally going to be GM+5, but two people both had work come up, so it ended up with GM+3. I was ready to run The Spanterhook Guild.
I set out the five redbook playbooks, and let people get on with making characters. The one who always takes forever took forever, and character creation ended up taking about 45 minutes. By the end, though, we had Rurgosh, the evil dwarf cleric of The One True God, How Lee, a human fighter and master of the spear, who’s family is being held hostage by an elf who wants the Eye of Evtrax, and Sparrow, the human thief from a rival guild, that Rurgosh and How Lee hired to help them steal it.
They snuck in, easily bypassed a trap, snuck past Gurneck the ogre, who was asleep at his job. In the cloak room, though, Rurgosh failed his discern realities roll, and loudly jangled some keys while rummaging through the cloaks. Gurneck woke up, but didn’t realize the PCs had already snuck past him. The party stole some thief cloaks, disguising themselves as thieves. They made their way through the trap room with the help of Bubbs the apprentice thief, who they convinced to help them by letting him out of a cage he’d trapped himself in, but in the next room they met Cedric the Bursar, who didn’t know them, and they had to say they were new apprentice thieves. When they said they wanted to see the Eye, Cedric kicked them out, telling them to come back in the morning, when Grandmaster Kristos could show it off himself. They snuck around to the back entrance again, entered, and found themselves face to face with a no longer sleeping Gurneck. Fortunately, as the result of a spout lore roll, Rurgosh had seen the password written on the thieves’ register on Cedric’s desk. They continued in, snuck right past Cedric and into the Grandmaster’s room, where the Eye was on a pedestal with an alarm trap, should it be taken, and also where Grandmaster Kristos was sleeping. How Lee attempted to sneak up on Grandmaster Kristos, to kill him in his sleep, but rolled low and woke him up. The two of them got into an extremely bloody battle, Spear vs. Rapier, in which How Lee nearly died, having to make a deal with Evtrax, sitting beyond the gates of death with an eyepatch, to return the eye. They slew Kristos, took the eye and ran for it, except Rurgosh who, pretending to be a Spanterhook Guild Thief, informed Cedric that Kristos had been murdered and that they needed to catch the intruders. How Lee became trapped in the room with the murder holes, but Cedric and his fellow thieves were too busy explaining to Rurgosh how murder holes work, and How Lee broke the door down to escape. Rurgosh, while rummaging through the tool room looking for a crossbow, took Cedric’s magic trap creating wand, and, by waving it around, managed to flood the thieves’ guild. For some reason he returned the wand to Cedric, then left in the confusion. They met up at the stingray tavern, and decided the best course of action was to take the eye to the One True Monastery, hidden in the depths of the Blood Moor, where Rurgosh’s fellow priests could study it. So, next week its the Blood Moor.
The system worked pretty well, though combat felt a bit more abstract than in Apocalypse World. I feel like that will go away as we play more and get used to it. It seemed like How Lee’s player was bored for most of the session, as the others were carefully sneaking past and bluffing their way past everything, not giving him a chance to fight. I feel like he did enjoy the actual fight when it came, though.
Another issue was that, in many cases, the PCs were lying to NPCs without offering them anything. A couple of times I decided this was defy danger, but that didn’t always seem quite right. Often I just had NPCs believe the PCs, if the players told a decent lie. I feel like this particular play group might benefit from a specific Bluff move. At the end of the session, the PCs had stolen the Eye of Evtrax, but except for Sparrow, had stolen nothing else. This meant that How Lee had neither money nor food. They had no way of resting, so they decided to just head straight for the Blood Moor. I’m not exactly sure what to do about this. I guess as it starts to seem reasonable, -1 ongoing for exhaustion? Anyway, it went pretty well, over all, and I had more fun with it than with any other D&D type game, except for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. It was nice not to get bogged down in a combat mini-game.